Academic Vocabulary – Difficult

This week, you will learn ten academic vocabulary words. Americans learn these words in school. You will see a word and then (n), (adj), or (v). If the word is a noun (thing), you will see (n). If the word is an adjective (describing word), you will see (adj). If the word is a verb (action), you will see (v). Then you will see the definition (meaning) of the word. Some words have more than one meaning. I will give you an example sentence with each definition.

If you are confused about a word, please ask your teacher to explain it. Your teacher can also give you more information about each word – plural forms of nouns, past forms of verbs, pronunciation, etc.

When you feel comfortable with a new word, try to use it in class or in a conversation outside of class. Practice two words each day until you are comfortable with all of them!

  • amaze (v) – to surprise or cause a strong impression / Noah amazed his parents when he started walking at only 8 months old.
  • arctic (adj) – very cold; related to the North Pole / Arctic weather in North Carolina is very unusual.
    (n) – the area around the North Pole (*Note: We always use “the” with this proper noun.) / American children believe that Santa Claus lives in the Arctic.
  • court (n) – a place where a judge listens to trials and makes decisions about the law; a large, flat area with markings for a game or sport; the home and advisors of a royal person / A member of the queen’s court had to go to court because of a fight on a basketball court.
  • elect (v) – to make a choice; to choose by voting / The American people recently elected a new president.
  • interval (n) – a period of time between events; the space between things / If you are expecting a baby, you should go to the hospital when there is about a 5-minute interval between your contractions.
  • league (n) – a group of sports teams that play against each other; a group of people that work together for a common purpose / The National Football League (NFL) is a group of professional football teams in the United States.
  • limit (v) – to prevent from going past a certain point (amount or distance) / The school board limits the number of children in each class to 30.
    (n) – a line or point that cannot be passed / The speed limit in a school zone is 25 miles per hour.
  • milestone (n) – an important event that shows growth, progress, or improvement; a rock that marks distance / Learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk are important milestones for babies.
  • recreation (n) – anything a person does to have fun or relax / The Department of Parks and Recreation offers all kinds of classes and sports for the enjoyment of the city’s residents.
  • tackle (v) – to grab, pull to the ground, or get in the way of a person to stop them; to start or try to do a (usually big) project / Football players tackle each other during the game, which gets their uniforms dirty, so when they go home, they have to tackle the laundry.
    (n) – the equipment required for a task or sport (usually fishing) / Dan keeps everything he needs for fishing in his tackle box.

Word Families

When you learn a new word, it is helpful to learn other words that are related to it. For example, “amaze” is a verb, but there are at least four other words we use that are related to it – amazement, amazed, amazing, and amazingly. If you know the meaning of “amaze,” you can guess the meanings of the related words. This chart will show you several words that are related to the words in the list.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Ask your teacher to show you how to use each one in a sentence.

Your Turn

Write answers to these questions or discuss them with your classmates:

  1. Has anything amazed you recently? What was it? Why did it amaze you?
  2. Have you ever lived in a place with arctic weather? Do you prefer hot or cold weather? Why?
  3. How many sports can you name that are played on a court?
  4. Do you think the United States elected a good president last week? Why/Why not?
  5. Many American families have a new baby about two years after the first baby is born. Do you think this is a good interval between children? Why/Why not?
  6. What is your favorite sports league? What is your favorite team in the league?
  7. Do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for families to limit the number of children they have? What do you think is the ideal family size?
  8. I remember the first time I understood a joke in another language. What do you think are some important milestones in language learning?
  9. What do you like to do for recreation?
  10. Think about a big project you want to tackle. What step can you take today to get started?

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